From robots that eat and shrink to invincible soldiers and smart drones, advanced science projects will alter our universe. We look at 12 of the best.
The all-consuming AI system
DARPA is building avant-garde artificial intelligence (AI) software known as a Machine Reading Program (MRP) that can capture knowledge from naturally occurring text and transform it into the formal representations used by AI reasoning systems.
The idea is that such an intelligent learning system would unleash a wide variety of new AI applications - military and civilian - ranging from intelligent bots to personal tutors.
DARPA says all of the text on the web will become available for automating the monitoring and will allow the AI program to analyse all sorts of activities from technological to political.
NASA and the micro-bots
Some experts are proposing NASA or possibly a commercial space entity develop semi-automous robots that could be sent to explore and build outposts in space.
What some are suggesting is that NASA restructure its space exploration strategy to adopt telepresence-based microbots as the way to achieve space exploration goals without developing manned spacecraft and all of the expense and risk that entails.
Microbots could supply the information that, fed to computers, would let us explore alien planets in the same way that we navigate the virtual spaces of video games or wander through online environments like Second Life.